Southeast Asian Leaders Urged to Act on Rohingya Crisis

Southeast Asian Leaders Urged to Act on Rohingya Crisis

 sources by AP

Southeast Asian lawmakers on Wednesday urged their leaders to discuss Myanmar’s Rohingya crisis at their upcoming summit in Malaysia, saying it has led to the highest outflow of asylum seekers by sea in the region since the Vietnam War.

Myanmar, a predominantly Buddhist nation of 50 million, is home to an estimated 1.3 million Muslim Rohingya, and most are considered stateless. Though many of their families arrived from Bangladesh generations ago, almost all are denied citizenship by Myanmar as well as Bangladesh.

The ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights, a grouping of regional lawmakers, said in a statement that the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations must abandon its policy of not interfering in each other’s affairs, which has been used as a justification to avoid holding a discussion on the Rohingya issue.

“We are seeing a dire situation in ASEAN,” Malaysian lawmaker Charles Santiago told a news conference ahead of the two-day summit that starts Monday. “The Rohingya issue has become an ASEAN problem because we have a huge amount of refugees fleeing into Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.”

“It has also led to a regional human trafficking epidemic. A human catastrophe is happening and ASEAN leaders cannot and should not hide behind the notion of non-interference,” Santiago said.

The Rohingya issue has emerged as a sensitive topic as Myanmar tries to move away from decades of repressive military rule toward democracy.

In the last 2 1/2 years, attacks by Buddhist mobs have left hundreds of Rohingya dead and 140,000 trapped in camps where they live without access to adequate health care, education or jobs.

More than 100,000 Rohingya have also fled Myanmar’s western shores by boat, according to estimates provided by experts tracking their movements.

The ASEAN Parliamentarians earlier released a report on the Rohingya crisis following a fact-finding mission to Myanmar in early April. The report will be sent to ASEAN leaders along with an appeal letter, Santiago said.

In the letter, which was released to the media, ASEAN Parliamentarians said the delegation had identified “troubling signs of anti-Muslim rhetoric and broader incitement to violence,” and warned that this could increase in the run-up to Myanmar’s elections in November.

“The protracted culture of abuse and resulting high risk of atrocities threaten Myanmar’s political transition, put strains on regional economies and support the rise of extremist ideologies that pose security threats throughout Southeast Asia,” the letter said.

The group said the human rights crisis in Myanmar was exacerbated by ASEAN’s failure to take action and urged leaders to act to prevent a further escalation of the crisis that could affect the entire region.

The United Nations has also urged Myanmar to give Rohingya equal access to citizenship and to crack down on Buddhist violence against them and other Muslims.

26th ASEAN SUMMIT KUALA LUMPUR CONVENTION CENTRE

PRESS STATEMENT

 

26 APRIL 2015

 

26th ASEAN SUMMIT KUALA LUMPUR CONVENTION CENTRE

 

Dear Chief Editors,

 

Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia (MERHROM) welcomes the ASEAN delegates for the 26th ASEAN SUMMIT 2015 held in Kuala Lumpur. MERHROM thank the Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak and the Foreign Minister, Datuk Seri Anifah Aman for taking up Rohingya’s plight during the ASEAN SUMMIT 2015. Ethnic Rohingya faced prosecutions from Myanmar government since 1942, before the Independent of Myanmar. Ethnic Rohingya were made Stateless in our own homeland by the Myanmar government. We faced gross human rights violations inside Myanmar for over 60 years. The United Nations announced that the Rohingya is the most prosecuted ethnic in the world. Rohingya issue is no longer an internal problem of Myanmar but it has become the issue in ASEAN region as well as International issue.

 

The International Human Rights Organizations as well as Experts on Rohingya’s plight categorized Rohingya situation in Myanmar as Slow Burning Genocide as we faced systematic prosecutions from the Myanmar government for a very long period. Due to systematic prosecutions, estimated 2 millions of Rohingya forced to flee Myanmar and thousand of us died either in Myanmar, in the ocean or in transit countries.  In 1978 Myanmar government launched Nagamin Operation on ethnic Rohingya. Estimated 300, 000 Rohingya forced to flee Arakan State to Bangladesh and 40,000 Rohingya died.

 

 

 

The gross human rights violations towards ethnic Rohingya continues until now in Arakan State and across Myanmar. As a result Rohingya continuously fled the countries and seek refuge mainly to Malaysia. There is no change for the Rohingya situation despite of many visits from the Human Rights Special Rapportuers, United Nations Envoys, World Leaders and International Organizations.

 

The Myanmar government aim to eliminate ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar.  The government has confiscated Rohingya’s Nationality Card and the Family List. The government then issued a White Card to the ethnic Rohingya.  The Rohingya refused to accept the White Card as it is issued for the temporary resident. In the White Card the Rohingya identity has been change to Bengali. Those who refused to accept has been arrested, beaten, tortured and killed. The Rohingya have to accept the White Card for the sake of their security.

 

Recently the Myanmar government confiscates the White Card and they were given another temporary paper with immigration stamp. We do not know what is the plan of the government, and what will come next for us.

 

The government also created 2 child policy for Rohingya family in order to reduce the population of Rohingya. This is another form of Genocide.

 

Rohingyas are dying day by day not only by the systematic prosecution by the Myanmar government but also with different ways and policies put in place to eliminate Rohingya from Myanmar.

 

 

Rohingya in Malaysia.

 

Malaysia is not party to the 1951 Refugee Convention or the Refugee Status Protocol 1967. However Malaysia becomes a transit country for Rohingyas to seek refuge as there is an office of United Nations High Commissioners for Refugees (UNHCR) in Kuala Lumpur. The Malaysian government has allowed the refugees to stay temporarily until the UNHCR process our Resettlement to a third country. Though our status in Malaysia is temporary but the fact is we are already exist in Malaysia for the past three decades.

 

 

Malaysia is not only a transit country for Rohingya but also other ethnics from Myanmar as well as from other countries. Malaysia became a transit country for 150,460 refugees and asylum seekers who registered with UNHCR in Kuala Lumpur as of November 2014. This number will grow bigger and bigger if there is no step taken to stop the Myanmar government from its systematic prosecutions towards ethnic Rohingya.

 

 

Our Expectations from the 26th ASEAN SUMMIT 2015.

 

The root cause of the problem is the systematic prosecution towards ethnic Rohingya by the Myanmar government. The solution to the Myanmar refugees and asylum seekers who scattered in the ASEAN countries is to INTERVENE directly with the Myanmar government. The Myanmar government must stop producing a large number of refugees and asylum seekers over the years for its neighboring countries.

 

Even though the ASEAN countries adhere to the non interference policy among its member state, the ASEAN Leaders also must recognized that now we are ONE COMMUNITY, ASEAN COMMUNITY. Therefore the ASEAN member’s state must actively engage with the Myanmar government to stop the gross human rights violations towards its ethnic groups.

 

This year Malaysia is the Chairman of the ASEAN. We hope Malaysia will play an important role to engage with the Myanmar government to resolve refugee issues. Malaysia is in right position to engage with Myanmar government as Malaysia is a home to 139,200 Myanmar refugees and asylum seekers.

 

We believe only the ASEAN can resolve our issues as refugees from Myanmar have become major issue within ASEAN especially Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

 

While the ASEAN leaders engage with the Myanmar government to resolve the issues of refugees and asylum seekers, we hope the ASEAN member states will continue to protect refugees and asylums seekers in the spirit of ASEAN COMMUNITY.

 

 

 

Human lives must be given the first priority before anything else if we call ourselves as a develop nations. We must contribute in whatever way to save Rohingya from the continuous Genocide. ASEAN cannot reach its goals until and unless Rohingya’s plight is resolved.

 

 

Thank you.

 

 

Prepared by,

 

 

 

Zafar Ahmad Bin Abdul Ghani

President

Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia (MERHROM)

Tel No: +6016-6827287

Blog: http://www.merhrom.wordpress.com

Email: rights4rohingya@yahoo.co.uk

Email: rights4rohingyas@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/zafar.ahmad

https://twitter.com/merhromZafar

REFUGEES IN ASEAN: TIME TO RESPOND PROPERLY

ASEAN PEOPLE’S FORUM 2015

21-24 APRIL 2015

KUALA LUMPUR

 

REFUGEES IN ASEAN: TIME TO RESPOND PROPERLY

 

Myanmar produced a large number of refugees and asylum seekers in the ASEAN region every year since 1990s. Due to systematic prosecution from the Myanmar military regime, Refugees and asylum seekers fled Myanmar to the neighboring countries mainly to Bangladesh, Thailand, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Cambodia.

 

Malaysia became a transit country for 150,460 refugees and asylum seekers who registered with UNHCR in Kuala Lumpur. From this figure
139,200 are from Myanmar, comprising some 50,620 Chins, 40,070 Rohingyas, 12,160 Myanmar Muslims, 7,440 Rakhines & Arakaneses and other ethnicities from Myanmar.

 

There are some 11,260 refugees and asylum-seekers from other countries, including some 4,200 Sri Lankans, 1,200 Pakistanis, 1,120 Somalis, 970 Syrians, 860 Iraqis, 580 Iranians, 450 Palestinians, 390 Afghans, 350 Yemenis, 140 Sudanese and others from other countries.

Some 70% of refugees and asylum-seekers are men, while 30% are women. There are some 32,710 children below the age of 18.

 

(Source: UNCHR, Malaysia as of November 2014)

 

 

Slow Burning Genocide of Rohingya in Arakan State, Myanmar.

 

The Myanmar government systematically prosecutes ethnic Rohingya in Arakan State especially since 1978 during its Nagamin Operation. Estimated 300, 000 Rohingya forced to flee Arakan State to Bangladesh and 40,000 Rohingya died.

 

The gross human rights violations towards ethnic Rohingya continues until now in Arakan State and across Myanmar. As a result Rohingya continuously fled the countries and seek refuge mainly to Malaysia. There is no change for the Rohingya situation despite of many visits from the Human Rights Special Rapportuers, United Nations Envoys and International Organizations.

 

The Myanmar government aim to eliminate ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar.  The government has confiscated Rohingya’s Nationality Card and the Family List. The government then issued a White Card to the ethnic Rohingya.  The Rohingya refused to accept the White Card as it is issued for the temporary resident. In the White Card the Rohingya identity has been change to Bengali. Those who refused to accept has been arrested, beaten, tortured and killed. The Rohingya have to accept the White Card for the sake of their security.

 

Recently the Myanmar government confiscates the White Card and they were given another temporary paper with immigration stamp. We do not know what is the plan of the government, and what will come next for us.

 

The government also created 2 child policy for Rohingya family in order to reduce the population of Rohingya. This is another form of Genocide.

 

Rohingyas are dying day by day not only by the systematic prosecution by the Myanmar government but also with different ways and policies put in place to eliminate Rohingya from Myanmar.

 

 

Current Development of Rohingya in Malaysia.

 

On 16 April 2015, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim called on the United Nations High Commissioners for Refugees (UNHCR) to speed up the repatriation process. According to him, Malaysia will not open its doors to refugees and asylum seekers, especially to the Rohingyas from Myanmar, even under humanitarian grounds, as they have become a security threat here.

 

Datuk Seri Shahidan also pointing out that Malaysia is not party to the 1951 Refugee Convention or the Refugee Status Protocol 1967, he said these refugees and asylum seekers, especially the Rohingya community, could go to Cambodia or Philippines, which are signatories to the convention.

 

With this new development, we are very worried what will happen to us? We are made Stateless in our own country, we are unwanted in the transit country, and we are treated differently compared to other ethnic from the same country.

 

 

What are the Meaning of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and International Convention to us?

 

We have everything in the world to save us from the GENOCIDE but it was not use to help us. We have the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as a super solid declaration which guides us how we suppose to live in this world. The UDHR clearly state our rights in very detail way. Unfortunately in our cases, NONE of these RIGHTS are belong to us. It is shameful that we only can see the UDHR in a paper but we cannot embrace it in our life. All our rights have been taken away by the regimes.

 

WE have the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) but none of their rights are guaranteed for Rohingya children and women. Ironically children and women became the target by the regimes and suffered the most at any times.

 

Human lives must be given the first priority before anything else if we call ourselves as a develop nations. We must contribute in whatever way to save the Rohingyas from the continuous Genocide from the cruel and uncivilize regime.

 

 

How do we move from APF 2015?

 

The root cause of the problem is the systematic prosecution towards ethnic Rohingya by the Myanmar government. The solution to the Myanmar refugees and asylum seekers who scattered in the ASEAN countries is to INTERVENE directly with the Myanmar government. The Myanmar government must stop producing a large number of refugees and asylum seekers over the years for its neighboring countries.

 

Even though the ASEAN countries adhere to the non interference policy among its member state, the ASEAN Leaders also must recognized that now we are ONE COMMUNITY, ASEAN COMMUNITY. Therefore the ASEAN member’s state must actively engage with the Myanmar government to stop the gross human rights violations towards its ethnic groups.

 

This year Malaysia is the Chairman of the ASEAN. We hope Malaysia will play an important role to engage with the Myanmar government to resolve refugee issues. Malaysia is in right position to engage with Myanmar government as Malaysia is a home to 139,200 Myanmar refugees and asylum seekers.

 

While the ASEAN leaders engage with the Myanmar government to resolve the issues of refugees and asylum seekers, we hope the ASEAN member states will continue to protect refugees and asylums seekers in the spirit of ASEAN COMMUNITY.

 

Thank you.

 

 

Prepared by,

 

 

 

 

 

Zafar Ahmad Bin Abdul Ghani

President

Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia (MERHROM)

Tel No: +6016-6827287

Blog: http://www.merhrom.wordpress.com

Email: rights4rohingya@yahoo.co.uk

Email: rights4rohingyas@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/zafar.ahmad

https://twitter.com/merhromZafar

 

Myanmar: White card, bleak future

Myanmar: White card, bleak future

Some recent announcements by the Myanmar government should reassure all those who want to see democracy restored in this Southeast Asian country. Parliamentary elections planned for November this year promise to be much more transparent and inclusive than the one held in 2010. President Thein Sein has approved a law allowing a referendum on changes to the constitution. This has given hopes to supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD), that a ban on her from the presidency may eventually be lifted.

If Suu Kyi, the most popular politician in Myanmar and a Nobel laureate, is barred from running for president because her late husband and two sons are foreign citizens, the tragedy of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims is that they are not citizens of a country where their ancestors have been living since the seventh century.

They can’t participate in the election because they are noncitizens or the so-called white-card holders. Rohingyas can’t vote in the constitutional referendum or the general election because of a presidential ruling in February stripping them of suffrage. Worse still, their white cards will expire tomorrow forcing them to face a future which is as bleak as one can imagine.

NLD has already expelled more than 20,000 temporary identification card holders from the party’s membership. The other registered political parties (nearly 70) may follow suit to comply with a legislative mandate barring noncitizens from democratic process.

From tomorrow onward, white card holders, who also include an unknown number of ethnic Chinese, Kokang and Wa minorities, may also find it difficult to travel around the country due to a lack of identity document.

There are an estimated 800,000 to 1.1 million Rohingyas. Of some eight million Muslims in Myanmar, about one in six is Rohingya. A people who live mostly in Rakhine state in western Myanmar, Rohingyas were forced to take white cards because a 1982 law disqualified them from any citizenship claims they might have had.

To make matters worse, the Myanmar government even does not want anyone to utter the term Rohingya because they are all “Bengalis”, a term used to legitimize denial of citizenship and rights to the group, though early Muslim settlements in Rakhine date from the seventh century. The term Rohingya was absent from last year’s landmark census.

Myanmar officials even chastised UN Secretary General Ban KI-moon and US President Barack Obama for using the term Rohingya when they visited Myanmar last year to attend the ASEAN Summit held in Naypyidaw.

They visited Myanmar immediately after the country had gone through one of its periodic spasms of ethnic violence that in the past two and a half years have killed hundreds of Rohingyas. As many as 140,000 of them were forced to displacement camps.

Since then, their condition has only worsened as Yanghee Lee, UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar points out in her latest report, says she saw “no improvement” for displaced Rohingyas since her previous visit in July 2014.

Such is the hatred of the majority Buddhists toward the Rohingyas that during her latest visit in January this year, Lee was publicly denounced as a “whore” and “bitch” by a prominent monk.

The fact is Rohinglyas are the victims not merely of official policies but of ethnic and religious tensions created by some radical monks. This is what makes them despair of political reforms in Myanmar. In general, democracy works to the advantage of minorities, giving the most disadvantaged people a voice in the decision-making process. But Rohingyas know that democracy can also be used to raise suspicions and create fears about minorities in the minds of the majority. While the government intensifies its campaign of hate, who would risk votes of the majority by supporting a despised minority?

This places an additional responsibility on the international community who have released a statement affirming their support for free and fair polls in Myanmar. Of course, they should keep a watch on the conduct of elections so the government machinery is not used to intimidate its opponents or help those who would side with them. They must take steps to prevent the electoral politics in Myanmar degenerating into a race to decide who can say the most bigoted things about a helpless minority. More important, they must ensure that the options before Rohingyas are not “to stay and die or to leave by boat,” as Lee’s report to the UN Human Rights Council put it starkly.

Source by: http://www.saudigazette.com.sa

Akyab IDPs asked to fill out form in place of white card

Muslim women sexually abused in Kiladong after relative escapes police

Four including father and son arrested for murder

Terror charges against 24 activists

Burma’s army chief promises peaceful elections

Burma’s army chief promises peaceful elections

By

Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing said the army would continue to usher Burma towards democracy, during a 30-minute speech at Burma’s 70th Armed Forces Day parade.

In a mass show of military force, army, air force and navy units paraded past the Tatmadaw (Burmese military) strongman, as jets streamed overhead and elite troops performed drills. Airborne soldiers abseiled from helicopters on ropes. Missiles, tanks and armed personal carriers lined the streets of Naypyidaw for the celebratunnamed-1ion, which marks the date in 1945 when Burma’s newly formed army rose up against Japanese occupiers near the end of the Second World War.

Much of Min Aung Hlaing’s address was dedicated to the upcoming election. The commander-in-chief acknowledged that this year’s vote would have a changing impact on the country. He went on to vow that the military would prevent disturbances to the country’s tranquility and would ensure rule of law.

While the military chief discussed the upcoming general election at length, Burma’s opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi was absent from the day’s parade. Sickness kept the Nobel Peace Prize winner away from the annual event, breaking a string of attendances running back to 2013.

“She needs to take as rest at this moment. That’s why she couldn’t attend the ceremony this morning in Naypyidaw,” a party source close to Suu Kyi told AFP, adding that she was “fine”.

This year’s Armed Forces Day comes at a time when the Burmese military is mired in conflict across the country’s northeast. Fighting in Kachin, Kokang and Shan regions has resulted in some of the heaviest Burma army casualties in recent years. The fighting shows no sign of abating, despite a positive outlook shared by both government and ethnic peace negotiators who continue to work towards a nationwide ceasefire deal. The government’s Union Peace-making Working Committee will sit for further talks with ethnic bloc the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team on 30 March.